Jeff Nesbithas developed a new type of Christian-thriller. Instead of random demonic violence running amok in the general population, we see the metho...moreJeff Nesbithas developed a new type of Christian-thriller. Instead of random demonic violence running amok in the general population, we see the methodical and narcissistic Jude. Two brothers grow up but choose different paths. Jude makes a secret deal to get what he wants out of life while his brother becomes a simple reporter who is known as Jude's brother. The story follows how the secret of Jude's success begins to unravel around him. Those looking for a new writer in the same vein as Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker This should be on your need to read list. (view spoiler)[I plan on going back and reading the other books in this series and maybe revisit this one to get more of the story as a whole. Its readable as a standalone but I seemed to be missing a large part of the back story with the Regents and what has happened before the action in this story. (hide spoiler)](less)
I borrowed this from my pastor and read it to see what I thought. The first two-thirds of the book breakdown the ideas of catechism and how it current...moreI borrowed this from my pastor and read it to see what I thought. The first two-thirds of the book breakdown the ideas of catechism and how it currently looks in the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. The history, background materials, and comparison charts are a wonderful read for those not knowledgeable; but as a whole, it reads more like a seminary textbook instead being intended for the average layman. The last third of the book would be most beneficial to Pastors and lay leaders looking to build "new members" classes and redeveloping the Sunday School program. The major idea being the creation of the three tiered program of classes that identify new believers, growth and discipleship of followers, and the mentoring of believers and leaders of the church. (less)
**spoiler alert** This is the second book I have read that is attached to the re-imagined ST Universe and my first as a digital copy. The big things t...more**spoiler alert** This is the second book I have read that is attached to the re-imagined ST Universe and my first as a digital copy. The big things that jump out is that the digital artwork looks great on the larger screens but appears a bit washed/stretched on my small SGS3 phone. The second is that the sketch work related to the movie are a nice addition but it can detracting to the storyline. As a whole, the story is ok but not great and seems like a slight rehash of the whole Pon Farr concept, Section 31, and the Klingon/Romulan rivalry. The cliffhanger is placed in a nice spot but not enough is revealed to make me want to continue.
(view spoiler)[ So a group from Section 31, is secretly working with Klingons and Romulans in a plot that is not clearly explained in any way. While this is going Spock begins to experience Pon Farr; however, the temples on New Vulcan cannot help him or a small group of Vulcans who are experiencing it as well. Spock and the group go rogue and run off to the lava fields of new Vulcan. The drawings seem to borrow heavily from SW epIII. As we follow Spock, it is revealed that a Federation mining colony is being built on another planet and the Romulans and Klingons are deeply interested. A group of Section 31 personnel are seen, but not shown, speaking about how they can get involved in the process as well. Insert cliffhanger here. Back to the Vulcans and a transporter trick from Scotty to saves the day. End story. Its nice but clearly there is no real known plot lines for the next movie in the series; so, it draws heavily from what is seen in Into Darkness with no reflection on that story line at all except for the planets that are shown. (hide spoiler)]
I reviewed this book for NetGalley.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I really wanted to read this novel. When I found out about the sequel, I couldn't wait to read the story. That being said, meh. I like Doctorow and mo...moreI really wanted to read this novel. When I found out about the sequel, I couldn't wait to read the story. That being said, meh. I like Doctorow and most of his views. His fear of a big brother government and a cyber-security world are spot on. The problem is that Marcus is just a dumb kid character. He never seems to put two and two together long enough to make a real change in his life. Ange is the best character in this novel and I wanted to know note about her this time. Because of all the baggage from his detention at the end of LB, Marcus is just too broken. He is weak and lost. I constantly wanted to scream at him and say, get the darknet out there and make it work for everybody. Tor isn't that complicated with the right help. It also felt like too much random stuff was happening to Marcus. The protest and riot. The goon squads and gyro copters. It was just too much to make it work because the randomness just didn't go together like it did in LB. In the end, it is a good read for those who like techno thriller. It's not great literature or his best work.(less)
Davis Bunn hits the Marc once again. This latest addition to the Marc Royce novels is a great example of when a writer is in his stride with a long te...moreDavis Bunn hits the Marc once again. This latest addition to the Marc Royce novels is a great example of when a writer is in his stride with a long term character. In this one, the US and Israel believe that the Iranian nuclear program has bought missile and launching components from North Korea, thus enters Marc Royce. As always, he is unofficial layman working for CIA. The plot seems like a reversed Iran-Contra. Semi-rogue agents within the Iranian government are secretly selling forged artworks to pay for the development of nuclear program. Royce is sent to investigate and Kitra is pulled into the action. Beginning with a bombing inside of an art gallery this story continues through the richest parts of Europe's art dealer lifestyle. This time the espionage is layered with relationship issues as the two try to find a way to love one another and still be the people God wants them both to be. As always, faith and the underground church play a major role, this time the Iranian diaspora are put center stage. In the end, this a punchy, quick read that is right on point with the Marc Royce from the first book, Lion of Babylon. If Bunn continues this way with the Marc Royce series I could have a new replacement for my go to spy novels.(less)
Took me far longer than I wanted, but sometimes life gets in the way. This is a great read for the casual christian audience. It compares to his other...moreTook me far longer than I wanted, but sometimes life gets in the way. This is a great read for the casual christian audience. It compares to his other books Heartland and Impostor. The biggest take away was that it was a bit slow after he gets caught/stuck in Mexico. The adrenaline rush started by the crash and chase scene are lost as he goes into hiding. The flipside is that the locals he meets and befriends give him a great mirror to think about life and faith. Good read in the genre of basic faith drama but not a hit like his other action packed work. Would highly recommend to new Christian reader and anyone who is a big fan of Andy Andrews work.(less)
I haven't read a book by Jerry Jenkins in a long time. His style and pace was something I remember enjoying with the Left Behind series but I never br...moreI haven't read a book by Jerry Jenkins in a long time. His style and pace was something I remember enjoying with the Left Behind series but I never branched out into his other writings. With all of that being said, I liked about 90% of the book. I didn't necessarily love it, but it was fun to read. New characters in the christian archaeology thriller genre are hard to beat out the old ones but this one is worth the time for the new perspectives it brings to the apostles Luke and Paul. (view spoiler)[The premise of the novel is in the same vein as The DaVinci code and the Templar Novels. Paul's lost manuscript has been found and is now being sought after by art thieves and archaeologist. Enter, August "Augie" Knox, a theology professor at a small independent theological seminary in Dallas. His connections with tour guides and theologians in Rome pulls him into this now crazy race to find, protect, and ultimately reveal the precious artifact. I really like this new Augie Knox character and would be willing to read a story with him again. His faulty and quirky in a wholesome way that is continuous approachable. The problem is that the bad guys and psuedo-bad guys are wood characters and for the most part transparent in both motive and scheme. At the same time that we get this story, three others are layered on top of it. The story of Augie and his future wife. Paul in the last few weeks before his execution in Rome and the actually autobiography that Paul has written. The other major problem I have with the story is Paul's motivation for persecuting Christians. We get a great POV into how he is trained in Jerusalem and becomes a member of the Sanhedrin. We even see how he logiaclly stands against Jesus's ministry during his times at the Temple Mount and crucifixion. The problem occurs when it is assumed by Jenkins and MacDonald that a broken heart is his major reason for persecutions, it lost me. It actually got to a point were I wanted to speed through the story of Luke and Paul to get back to reading about the lost manuscript being found and moved around. In the end I cared more about Luke not getting caught in Rome, during the writing of the manuscript, than I did about Paul's pre-conversion story. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Steven James has quickly become one of my favorite reads in the christian fiction genre. Whereas other crime novels still have rough edged and broken...moreSteven James has quickly become one of my favorite reads in the christian fiction genre. Whereas other crime novels still have rough edged and broken nihilistic heroes, Patrick Bowers is a logical and faithful man of the law. He uses science as a means and not a ethical crutch to do he wants, that is directed at you Sherlock Holmes. In this novel, we really get to see the emotional and logical connection that law enforcement has to make everyday and it is not done in the stylist Lethal Weapon or Rush hour buddy cop kind of way.This time we find Bowers on the cusp of his wedding and what would turn out to be one of the worse weeks of his life. Richard Basque, the cannibal psychopath, is slowly working his way closer and closer to Patrick Bowers. Meanwhile, someone is tainting shipments of anti-depressants as a means to cause mass suicides across the US. As if this is not enough, Tessa, Bower's step-daughter, is in the final weeks of her Senior year, no Prom date but a cute guy is interested and a possible graduate speech to boot. Toss in a pair of garden sheers, a crime novelist, her daughter, and a side trip to India and you have the one of the best novels in the series. For those looking to find a hard science based legal thriller, without the sex and cursing, this is your series but do your self the favor and start at the beginning, The Pawn. Spoilers!!!!(view spoiler)[ After reading Opening Moves, I couldn't figure out what made that whole story seem off to me. I thought maybe it was the publisher/editor or the fact that it was a flashback. The novel was good but just wasn't the Patrick Bowers I was use to, then I read this one and it was obvious. I like the Patrick that is more like me. Family guy with stress from both sides of life, family vs career. Techie but still has friends and can unwind around regular people. Some of the best scenes for Patrick are the ones where he is trying to figure out how to handle being Tessa's "dad." Brineesha and Ralph are great foils for this and provide him parental advice that he desperately needs. Alternatively, after Lien-hua's attack she is mostly pointless in the story except for the wedding at the end. Her encounter with Basque really turns on the heat but I like her as a character and at times she completely disappears for chapters because of her recovery. Brineesha helps to fill the role and some muddled and teenage angst driven conversations from Tessa help, but Bowers is on his own in this one and that what scares him the most. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
At its crux, this book is a time traveler yarn about a young boy who loses his boring sheltered life in rural Minnesota. Tucker Feye, son of preacher...moreAt its crux, this book is a time traveler yarn about a young boy who loses his boring sheltered life in rural Minnesota. Tucker Feye, son of preacher and organ player, finds himself disheveled the day his father disappears from the roof of the house. When he arrived later in the day with a blonde-haired girl. Within months his mother loses her mind, his father loses faith, and Tucker loses both his parents. Then comes Uncle Kosh and the crazy journey begins. Spanning the top of a burning building, a pyramid for sacrifice, a big black barn and more.
In the end its like a young version of Back to the Future because Tucker the time traveler and his Uncle Kosh are all confused about what is happening to them. The learned reader will find this to be a fun and quick opening read for a new series; whereas, the novice will be introduced to a new idea of Klaatu Diskos, alternate realities, causality rifts, and the possibility of history and unknown futures.
This is my second Audiobooks book and it was different. Having a single vibrant reader is a great listen in the car or during chores. (less)
One of those really great fun books to read. If you give up a whole day, you could read it. The beauty of the story is it's simplicity. You know Calic...moreOne of those really great fun books to read. If you give up a whole day, you could read it. The beauty of the story is it's simplicity. You know Calico Joe is going to get hurt. You know Paul, is going to be decimated by this event. You know his father, the evil Mets pitcher is at fault. What makes the story is how Paul tells you about that fateful summer when it all happens. Its just a good story about baseball from a child's POV. It works but that's still very limited and would be boring to anyone that is not a baseball fan.(less)
One of the best youth dystopian novels on the market. Mari Lu is going to give us one great ride when this is all said and done,a trilogy of course. W...moreOne of the best youth dystopian novels on the market. Mari Lu is going to give us one great ride when this is all said and done,a trilogy of course. Written from the pov of two characters we see a future fractured USA that is dominated by the reminants of the old republic in the east and a fascist government, masquerading as a republic, in the west. Day is California's most wanted criminal, but when he breaks into a major hospital for plague meds a detective is killed and a young recruit its brought in to get him. June, the young recruit, then goes undercover into the poor sections of the city to find Day and capture him, revenge is her motivation. Their opposing po. and young views off the world provide some of the best narratives written in a dystopian future USA.
If you can listen to the audio version, it makes for great fun and comes in at just under 9 hours.(less)
Michael Youssefis a great writer and for the first time in a long while I felt truly impressed by the leadership concepts being presented. Not one pag...moreMichael Youssefis a great writer and for the first time in a long while I felt truly impressed by the leadership concepts being presented. Not one page goes by without sound biblical reference and additional examples of modern leaders used to make a point. For many looking to read a neo-pop culture version of John Maxwell, this is your book. And that is not meant to be a drumming of the book at all, but instead an acknowledgment that the iPod generation is moving into leadership roles and they need more than just Passion Conferences Podcast to get them motivated to lead. His style of writing is light, airy, and conversational but not vapid. I was struck by his use of the CEO of Starbucks as an example, since recent comments of the CFO seem to be a little anti-church, but Youseff backs up the secular example with scripture. He balances the tools you need to be a leader with modern examples and the moral steerage of Jesus Christ, without the negative nagging patriarch tone of some older leadership readings. I'm really blessed for reading it and will definitely keep it in my rotation of leadership readings for the next few years. Comparisons would lead me toJesus, CEO, writings by Francis Chan or Louie Giglio, and some of Andy Andrews works.
James Rubart has found his place in the supernatural christian genre. This new series is in the same world as Rooms and The Chair but exist separately...moreJames Rubart has found his place in the supernatural christian genre. This new series is in the same world as Rooms and The Chair but exist separately. What makes the book special is that the characters are asked to believe the amazing elements of the Bible that so many of us just glaze over and ignore. Teleporation,ESP, and Second sight. The main premise is an old one, Satan uses groups of his minions, demons, and fallen angles to manipulate our weakest places. However, a group of aggressive prayer warriors are learning how to ask the Holy Spirit for ways to battle these evils and personal sins. We are taken on a journey into the soul of five different people and the beginnings of a new type of quest. By using a middle aged Business woman, a hunky Rock star, College professor, and a Yoda like pop culture Christian hermit, we get to see the way the Spirit moves in an all encompassing way. This is a great origin story about faith and spiritual warfare. I'm really looking forward to what he has in-store for the Warriors Riding.(less)
Francis Chan continues to develop his readings for the growth of the church in modern America. The key elements that are pushed forward as a part of M...moreFrancis Chan continues to develop his readings for the growth of the church in modern America. The key elements that are pushed forward as a part of Multiply is that the form of Discipleship has waned greatly in the last century. Where churches have focused greatly on creating converts, the growth and depth of faith has shallowed out. Thus the lay leadership is ill-equipped to meet the growing needs of the current generation of believers. If I were to recommend this to anyone it would be a group, especially Sunday School Leaders, as a bible study focus for the a month or the year. A lot of what he has to say has more of an impact if a group can plan impact activities instead of an individual working singularly within a church.(less)
I finished this book in about two days and must say that it is a great book for anyone looking to enter the field of ministry or about to become the l...moreI finished this book in about two days and must say that it is a great book for anyone looking to enter the field of ministry or about to become the leader of a fairly large ministry/church. The downsides of the book are that it appeals well to a niche market. Those who have not read the copious amounts of leadership materials from Druker, Maxwell, and Roth will find this a great place to start reading about Leadership Principles. Mohler mentions them in passing and quotes them in various places but his purpose is slightly different from theirs. Where the previous writers speak more to the general ideals of leadership, Mohler talks about the application of leadership in a ministers/discipleship leader's life. I imagine that a bulk of this work was generated as a part of his teaching at Southern Seminary. At times reads as a do this, not that, if you become a head minister following your MA Div. His information on communication management skills and PR would be a critical leg up for anyone. However, those looking for a more generalized or business approach to leadership may want to go with other books available in the genre. Lay leaders of the church might also benefit more from a devotional style leadership reading instead of a how-to.
This book was provided to me as a ebook review by NetGalley and Bethany House Publishing(less)
For those who are big fans of Marc Royce's story, this will be a welcomed addition but not as great as his exploits in Iraq. The idea of a UN/Hallibur...moreFor those who are big fans of Marc Royce's story, this will be a welcomed addition but not as great as his exploits in Iraq. The idea of a UN/Halliburton based conspiracy is great and interesting but tends to fall apart at times. The uplifting elements come from the relationships developed between Royce, Kitra, Charles, and the local elders. The digital edition from amazon was nice but some noticeable copy/edit issues started showing up in the second half of the the book.
(view spoiler)[ My favorite parts of the book had to be his time in Israel. His dreams of a simple future and helping keep the watch of his newly adopted peoples in the Rift Valley. What completely tears this down is the idea that Royce wouldn't accept this as his true future and walks away from it and Kitra in the last chapter. Other elements that surprised me were that I could see Royce and Crowder redeveloping Lodestone or a new group based out of Kenya to do the work for Ambassador Walton. Overall the openness of this stories ending is too much for my taste and didn't seem to jive with the development of Royce as a character during his time in Israel. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>(less)